Monday, September 17, 2007

Independence Day Celebration

Miguel Hidalgo

Sunday was the 197th anniversary of Mexican independence. It is a huge holiday here, celebrated in every village and city in basically the same way. All over Mexico, at 11pm Saturday night, government officials repeated the famous El Grito (the shout) first uttered by Miguel Hidalgo in his campaign to free Mexico from Spanish rule. Nowadays it is basically a lot of patriotic babble ending in the famous shout....Viva Mexico!

I was very pleased with our Mayoress. She took to the balcony of the Municipal Building, overlooking the brightly adorned town square, exactly at 10:50pm. She read a brief history of the independence movement and at exactly 11pm, shouted the words Viva Mexico three times. I was amazed that finally something happened on time!

Did I mention all the fancy lights? I think a small fortune was spent on signs. It was quite festive and I'm sure the 2000 or so people jammed into the square thought so too. These lighted signs were not just in the square, they are all over downtown. There are especially a lot like these:

The one on the left is Hidalgo. I'm not sure which of the freedom fighters is represented by the one on the right. There are about six different profiles in all. People were in a party mood for sure. Lots of patriotic costumes, lots of red, green and white (the colors of the Mexican flag) and lots of sombreros! I know the guys in the picture. They thought I was taking a picture of his lovely hat. No matter how much I denied it, I don't think they believed me.

And then there were fireworks.

My goodness were there fireworks. We only have fireworks here twice a year. Independence Day and New Year's Eve. Again, a small fortune was spent on them. We were standing directly across the street from the square. No way was I going to get involved and smashed in the crowd in the square proper. We had a ringside seat though for the fireworks. See how close they allow people to get.

Yup, that's fireworks waiting to be shot off. After the National Anthem was placed, the first of the fireworks let go. Lots of ground to sky rockets, lots and lots of fancy signs that said things like Independence or 1810 or Viva Mexico. Lots of spinning things too. And lots and lots of smoke! I was amazed again at how close people get to these things as they are exploding and spinning and sending showers of hot sparks into the crowd. I was glad I was across the street. The noise was almost deafening.

Afterwards, we adjourned up the street to join a party already in progress at La Adelita's. We had reserved a table and good thing we did! The place was packed. I think we had a good time but I'm not really sure. The fact that we got home at 3:00am may give you some clue as to why I don't remember too clearly!

Finally, here is a video of the fireworks exploding right over my head. I had to keep a watch for falling sparks but it was worth it. It's a loud video with all the exploding so you may want to adjust your volume a bit! Enjoy!

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